Ajit at the FCC since being appointed to the

Ajit Varadaraj Pai (/??d?i?t ?pa?/;1 born January 10, 1973) is an American attorney who serves as the Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission(FCC). He is the first Indian American to hold the office. He has served in various positions at the FCC since being appointed to the commission by President Barack Obamain May 2012, at the recommendation of Mitch McConnell. He was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on May 7, 2012,2 and was sworn in on May 14, 2012, for a five-year term.3In January 2017, President Donald Trump designated Pai as FCC Chairman.45 In March 2017, Trump announced that he would renominate Pai to serve another five-year term (remaining Chairman of the FCC).6 Pai was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for an additional five-year term on October 2, 2017.7 Before his appointment to the FCC, Pai held positions with the Department of Justice, the United States Senate, the FCC’s Office of General Counsel, and Verizon Communications. Pai is a proponent of repealing net neutrality in the United States and, on December 14, 2017, voted with the majority of the FCC to reverse the decision to regulate the internet under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.Contents  hide 1Early life and education2Career3Policy positions3.1Net neutrality in the United States3.2Prison inmate telephone calling costs3.3Lifeline program3.4Sinclair Broadcast Group4Personal life5References6External linksEarly life and educationAjit Pai was born on January 10, 1973, in Buffalo, New York, and grew up in Parsons, Kansas.8 His parents are Konkani910 immigrants from India: Varadaraj Pai, a urologist, and Radha Pai, an anesthesiologist.1112 Both of his parents moved to the US in 197113 and were physicians at the county hospital.1415Pai attended his local high school, Parsons Senior High School, and graduated in 1990. He then went to Harvard University where he participated in the Harvard Speech & Parliamentary Debate Society.16 Pai graduated from Harvard in 1994 with a B.A. with honors in social studies, a major at Harvard created in 1960 that is an interdisciplinary combination of history, political science, economics, sociology, and anthropology. He then went to the University of Chicago Law School. He graduated with a J.D. in 1997, and was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and won the Thomas J. Mulroy Prize.17CareerFollowing law school, Pai clerked for Martin Leach-Cross Feldman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.2 After moving to Washington, D.C., in 1998, Pai worked for the United States Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division as an Honors Program trial attorney on the Telecommunications Task Force. There, he worked on proposed mergers and acquisitions and on novel requests for regulatory relief following the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.Pai left his Department of Justice post in February 2001 to serve as Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications Inc., where he handled competition matters, regulatory issues, and counseling of business units on broadband initiatives.2Pai left Verizon in April 2003 and was hired as Deputy Chief Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. He returned to the Department of Justice to serve as Senior Counsel in the Office of Legal Policy in May 2004. He held that position until February 2005, when he was hired as Chief Counsel to the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights.Between 2007 and 2011, Pai held several positions in the FCC’s Office of General Counsel, serving most prominently as Deputy General Counsel. In this role, he had supervisory responsibility over several dozen lawyers in the Administrative Law Division and worked on a wide variety of regulatory and transactional matters involving the wireless, wireline, cable, Internet, media, and satellite industries.2 In 2010, Pai was one of 55 individuals nationwide chosen for the 2011 Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a leadership development initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.2 Pai returned to the private sector in April 2011, working in the Washington, D.C., office of law firm Jenner & Block where he was a partner in the Communications Practice.In 2011, Pai was then nominated for a Republican Party position on the Federal Communications Commission by President Barack Obama at the recommendation of Minority leader Mitch McConnell. He was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on May 7, 2012, and was sworn in on May 14, 2012, for a term that concluded on June 30, 2016.2 Then Pai was designated chairman of the FCC by President Donald Trump in January 2017 for a five-year term.18 He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the additional five-year term on October 2, 2017.7Policy positionsAjit Pai in 2011Pai has been an advocate for less regulation during his tenure on the FCC. He is seen as a closer ally to broadcasters than to other members of the FCC.19 In testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology on July 10, 2012, he warned about the dangers of regulatory uncertainty and the need for the FCC to keep pace with the dynamic communications sector.20 Pai also asserted that by reforming the way the commission works, the agency can facilitate the provision of new and better services at lower prices for American consumers.20Pai gave his first major speech since taking office on July 18, 2012, at Carnegie Mellon University. He discussed how the FCC can help promote economic growth and enhance job creation in the information and communications technology field21 by adhering to three basic principles: (1) the FCC should be as nimble as the industry it oversees; (2) the FCC should prioritize the removal of regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment; and (3) the FCC should accelerate its efforts to allocate additional spectrum for mobile broadband.22Pai called for a reinvigoration of Section 7 of the Communications Act, which gives the commission a one-year deadline to review proposals for new technologies and services. He introduced the idea of creating an IP Transition Task Force to expedite the country’s transition to all-IP networks. He urged the commission to settle the nine-year-old contributions reform proceeding for the Universal Service Fund by the end of the year. Finally, he advocated for completing the rules for the AWS-4 spectrum band by September 2012 and conducting the broadcast spectrum incentive auctions by June 30, 2014.22Pai wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in 2014 criticizing a proposed FCC study of the news-gathering practices of media organizations.2324 In another 2014 letter, Pai criticized Netflix, writing that their Open Connect caching tools effectively secure fast lanes for its traffic.25In October 2014, Pai wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post criticizing a government-funded research project named “Truthy” at Indiana University which was studying the spread of “false and misleading ideas, hate speech and subversive propaganda” online.26 Pai questioned the value of the project, writing, “should taxpayer money be used to monitor your speech and evaluate your ‘partisanship?'” Truthy researchers defended the project, writing, “we do not monitor individual people. The tweets we analyze are public and accessible by anyone.”27 Indiana University issued a press release which said “the Truthy project is a basic computing research project designed to provide analytical insight into the ways in which information is spread across social media networks such as Twitter.”28 U.S. House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith sent a letter to the National Science Foundation announcing a review of the grant.29As chairman, Pai scrapped a proposal to open the cable box market to tech companies such as Google and Amazon.30Net neutrality in the United StatesMain article: Net neutrality in the United States2014 E-Rate Modernization WorkshopIn a 2014 hearing on net neutrality, Pai said that he was committed to a free and open internet and that it was not the FCC’s role to determine net neutrality. He testified that “a dispute this fundamental is not for us, five unelected individuals, to decide. Instead, it should be resolved by the people’s elected representatives, those who choose the direction of government, and those whom the American people can hold accountable for that choice.”31 Later, Pai voted against the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, classifying internet service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which bars certain providers from “making any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services.”3233 He said in December 2016 that he believed Title II net neutrality’s “days were numbered,”34 and was described by the New York Times as a stickler for strict application of telecommunications law and limits on the FCC’s authority.In a speech two weeks before the FCC’s scheduled December 2017 vote on net neutrality, Pai was critical of celebrities including Cher, Mark Ruffalo, and Alyssa Milano for boosting opposition to the planned repeal. In response to criticism from Ruffalo, Pai said “Getting rid of government authority over the Internet is the exact opposite of authoritarianism. Government control is the defining feature of authoritarians, including the one in North Korea.”35 Pai said Twitter and other tech companies were hypocritical for arguing for a free and open internet while, according to Pai, such companies “routinely block or discriminate against content they don’t like.”3637The day before the FCC’s scheduled vote on net neutrality, Pai appeared in a video entitled “Ajit Pai Wants The Internet To Know You Can Still Harlem Shake After Net Neutrality”.38 The controversial video showed him dancing to the “Harlem Shake” and buying products online, including a toy lightsaber. In the video, Pai is shown dancing next to Martina Markota, a proponent of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory and a staff member at the Daily Caller, the media outlet that produced the video. In response to the video, Star Wars actor Mark Hamill said Pai was “unworthy” of holding the Jedi weapon, as “a Jedi acts selflessly for the common man.”3839 Baauer, the creator of the song featured in the video, has threatened to take legal action against Pai alongside his record label for Pai’s use of the song in his video.4041As chairman, he also closed an investigation into zero-rating practices by wireless providers T-Mobile, AT, and Verizon.42 On May 18, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission took the first formal step toward dismantling the net neutrality rules,43 and on December 14, 2017, voted to reverse Title II regulations after a contentious public comment period.4445Prison inmate telephone calling costsPai argued against46 adoption of the FCC 2013 analysis47 and proposed rulemaking regarding the high cost of inmate telephone calls, referred to as Inmate Calling Service (ICS) by the FCC. He submitted his written dissent in which he argued that the nature of the exclusive single carrier contract between private ICS providers and prison administrators, meant inmates cannot “count on market competition to keep prices for inmate calling services just and reasonable.”48 (ICS has become a $1.2 billion telecommunications industry and the two largest providers in the United States were private equity-backed companies).4950:23 Prior to the FCC’s imposition of rate caps on interstate prison and jail phone calls in February 2014, the largest ICS provider Global Tel-Link (GTL) – which has been profitably bought and sold by private equity firms such as American Securities and Veritas Capital – charged some of the highest rates in the US – up to $17.30 for a 15-minute call.51 The 2013 FCC analysis,47 described how, in some cases, long-distance calls are charged six times the rate on the outside.46Acting Chairwoman Clyburn concurred with her order and both Jessica Rosenworcel and Pai dissented and issued statements. Pai opposed the FCC imposition of “safe harbor” of 12 cents with a cap of 21 cents on private ICS providers like GTL and CenturyLink Public Communications, arguing instead for a “simple proposal to cap interstate rates, with one rate for jails and a lower rate for prisons” that are cost-based to protect providers and ensure “some return on investment.” Pai also argued that the FCC was not well-equipped to micromanage rates at each and every prison.4852In 2015, Pai opposed rate caps on intrastate inmate calls over which courts have ruled the FCC has no jurisdiction,53 notwithstanding rates as high as $14 per minute.54 He raised concerns about the increased use of contraband cell phones in prisons.In November 2016, the ICS providers won a halt on the regulation rules. Pai criticized Democrats for appealing.55 Shortly after his January 23 confirmation as chairman, Pai withdrew support for the FCC case involving GTL and CenturyLink set for February 6, 2017, which had called for establishing FCC jurisdiction over rates set by states.3056 In June 2017, the US Court of Appeals struck down a large part of the FCC’s ICS order.57Lifeline programIn 2016, Pai called for an investigation of potential fraud among beneficiaries of the agency’s Lifeline subsidy for telecommunication services, contending that “apparent duplicates” who had signed up for the program improperly received $476 million annually.58 He rescinded permissions for nine new broadband providers selected by the previous FCC to participate in the program (along with more than 900 others) after becoming agency chairman, stating the new providers had not followed FCC guidelines requiring them to coordinate with the National Tribal Telecommunications Association in order to participate in the Lifeline program. Pai argued the rules had been improperly circumvented by the previous Democratic chairman, former lobbyist Tom Wheeler.59Sinclair Broadcast GroupIn November 2017, two Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Conyers (Mich.) and David Cicilline (R.I.), asked David L. Hunt, the inspector general of the FCC, to investigate whether Pai’s legislative actions regarding the relaxation of broadcast ownership rules were biased in favor of Sinclair Broadcast Group, a large owner of broadcast television stations that, since the formation of its now-defunct News Central format in 2003, produces conservative news and commentary segments that the group requires its stations to insert into certain local newscasts. The FCC, under Pai, undertook a number of actions that the legislators believe would benefit Sinclair – which has lobbied for such changes for several years – including rolling back certain broadcast television station ownership limitations (including allowing exceptions to duopoly rules that forbid common ownership of two television stations in the same market if both are among the four highest-rated or if such a combination would dilute independent media voices, reinstating a 1985 discount quota on UHF stations repealed two years earlier by Wheeler and his Democratic-led majority, a requirement dating to the FCC’s inception for broadcast outlets to maintain office operations within the community of their primary local coverage areas, and removing ownership attribution rules applying to joint sales and shared services agreements).60616263646566 A spokeswoman for Pai said “the request appears to be part of many Democrats’ attempt to target one particular company because of its perceived political views… . Any claim that Chairman Pai is modifying the rules now to benefit one particular company is completely baseless.”676869Personal life